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The Phantom of the Opera: Historical Inspirations, Literary Analysis, & Film Adaptations -- a Spooky Spotlight on the Gothic Novel

9 Jun 2019

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CLASSIC HORROR BLOG

Illuminating Supernatural Fiction, Horror, and the Gothic

from Mary Shelley to H. P. Lovecraft

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Unlike “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Imp of the Perverse,” and “The Black Cat,” Poe’s final two murder tales – “The Cask of Amontillado” and “Hop-Frog” – were revenge fantasies. The previous three murder tales explored the psychological effects of guilt, the unexpected l...

Arguably the most famous of Poe’s murder tales (and comfortably short for casual readers of literary fiction) “The Tell-Tale Heart” has become a cultural metaphor for the exposure of evil deeds. And yet its nuances are often overlooked. As much as it is a tale of wicke...

Magnum opus to Poe’s canon, “The Fall of the House of Usher” single-handedly could have ensured his reputation. While others may contend for the title of “Greatest” in the catalogue, the influence of “Usher” is unquestionable. Nearly all of the principle Poesque motifs...

Many of Poe’s tales can be seen as re-workings of previous works: “MS.” becomes “Maelström,” “Metzengerstein” becomes “Hop-Frog,” “Shadow” becomes “Masque,” “Tell-Tale Heart” becomes “Imp of the Perverse,” and “Berenice” becomes “Tell-Tale Heart” and “Black Cat.” Perha...

You have read Poe before. I say that with the authority of someone who was brought up in the American public education system. You have read “The Raven” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.” If your school was ambitious you have read “Annabelle Lee” and “The Cask of Amontillado.”...

The women of Poe’s tales are often polar opposites from the men who adore them. Like Berenice, the extroverted sensualist (who is mutilated by Egaeus, the reclusive intellectual) they represent what Jung would call the Anima to their male foils: the feminine, communal,...

Subtitled “An Imitation of the German,” this, the earliest of Poe’s supernatural tales, builds a unique atmosphere on a foundation of Gothic conventions: a hereditary feud between two ancient families, a gloom-drenched castle, a cryptic curse, and vaguely sinister mach...

Poe’s tales have unique Gothic elements that were mostly born from the disturbing episode that follows. The tropes of hypersensitivity, wasting women, psychosis-blighted genius, premature burial, monomaniac fixations, and gruesome, psychologically-poignant violence tra...

In 1837 Poe wrote his only novel: The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, a discombobulating, unearthly sea adventure involving shipwreck (after shipwreck, after shipwreck), cannibalism, marooning, vicious South Sea natives, piracy, and an ominously cryptic en...

One of the greatest personalities in horror fiction may also be one of the least understood. He wasn’t a drunk (a lightweight? Totally), he doesn’t seem to ever have used drugs (except for laudanum), and he was a successful man of letters during his lifetime (but he wa...

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